The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has announced that a law enabling people to ascertain whether their partner has a history of domestic violence, will be expanded across all of England and Wales from March 2014.
The initiative is affectionately named by the media as ‘Clare’s Law’ after Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in her home in 2009.
Officially named ‘The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme’ (DVDS) the policy was piloted in Wiltshire in 2011 closely followed by Gwent, Nottinghamshire, and Greater Manchester in 2012.
The DVDS adopted multi-agency processes allowing for disclosure to be made to the public containing information about previous violent offending by a new or existing partner. Information is given following an application process where it is deemed that such information may help protect individuals from domestic abuse.
Since the scheme was first piloted in Wiltshire, a total of 118 applications for disclosure have been made in England with 22 of these applications resulting in disclosure. These include 39 'Right to Ask' and 79 'Right to Know' applications.
Police forces across Wiltshire, Greater Manchester and West Mercia also piloted Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO’s). The scheme has the preventative objective of banning perpetrators of domestic violence from molesting a victim, or going near their home, for up to 28 days.
Since the start of the Home Office-led pilot in Wiltshire, which began in July 2011, a total of 246 DVPO's have been applied for to court with 208 of those granted.
The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.